Rotherham Titans 20 Jersey 20: Indiscipline of Titans in danger of costing play-off place

Lee Blackett
Lee Blackett
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Rotherham’s addiction to yellow cards is ruining their season and the prospects of the Titans competing again in the promotion play-offs.

The indiscipline that destroyed their chances of winning home games against Moseley and Nottingham reappeared at Clifton Lane where Jersey benefited to score 14 points following the sin-binning of winger Curtis Wilson and fly-half James McKinney.

Rotherham stay in fifth place having collected two very hard earned points against a highly competitive and physical side and, with eight Championship games remaining, it is still possible for them to finish in the top four.

The Titans begin preparing for Saturday’s contest at Sixways against Worcester, one of the favourites for promotion back to the Premiership. Considering Worcester’s power which can inflict even more damage than Jersey managed, Rotherham must compete throughout at full strength.

An aggressive display by Rotherham’s pack, in which the back row of Max Argyle, Alex Rieder and Ben Morris stood out, suggested that a much-needed home win would be the end product.

However, decent possession was not turned into match-winning points. Argyle’s first-half try helped to provide a 7-3 interval lead but Rotherham did not touch down again until 67 minutes when the referee awarded a penalty try.

The conversion gave them a lead of 20-17, but Jersey’s confidence was understandably high given previous events.

Rightly so. Wilson’s yellow card on 39 minutes was followed by McKinney’s on 43. With Rotherham down to 13 men, Jersey’s big pack capitalised to score a penalty try and then winger Mark McCrae was driven over.

Rotherham’s chances of earning four points, instead of the two for the draw, were spoilt by Jersey full-back Aaron Penberthy, whose fourth successful kick made it 20-20.

A thrilling late break by Wilson, making amends, split Jersey’s defence but Rotherham then lost control of the ball to reprieve their opponents.

Rotherham Titans: Scanlon, Keating, Davies (Hayes 54), Cooke, Wilson, McKinney, White, Hislop (Williams 52), Cruse, Thiede (Tampin 52), Maddison, Holmes (Ryan 49), Argyle, Rieder, Morris.

Jersey: Penberthy, Foster(Bishop 65), Locke, Robling, McCrae, Bentley, Fisilau (Glynn 57), Lockwood (Saenz-Lancuba 75), Buckle (Garcia-Veiga 49), Williams, Campbell, Rae, Hodson, Noone (Kaho 49).

Referee: M O’Grady.